Not-so-surprising report: NBA concerned over coronavirus spike in Florida

The NBA is reportedly concerned over the spiking number of coronavirus cases in Florida.

Surprise, surprise! The spiking number of coronavirus cases in Florida, the state where the NBA is planning to restart its 2019-20 season, has become a major cause of concern for the league.

According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Baxter Holmes, players, team executives and the league itself are concerned after Florida posted a record number of cases on Saturday for the third consecutive day. The Sunshine State reported 4,049 new cases on Saturday, breaking Friday’s record of 3,822.

Per ESPN, commissioner Adam Silver spoke with high-level executives in a recent call that was described as “tense” in its tone, particularly with the questions being asked of Silver. Another executive referred to Silver’s tone as “resolute but somber,” with the commissioner expressing confidence in the league’s bubble plan while also acknowledging the gravity of the situation.

In a call with the National Basketball Players Association, the fact that Walt Disney Resort workers that aren’t residing within the bubble won’t be subject to testing came up. Those concerns were countered by the fact that the Orlando region hasn’t been hit nearly as hard in Florida as South Florida, but if this trend continues, the league will need to work something out with those employees in the form of frequent testing to ensure everyone’s safety.

NBA spokesman Mike Bass told ESPN that the league is “closely monitoring the data in Florida and Orange County and will continue to work collaboratively with the National Basketball Players Association, public health officials and medical experts regarding our plans.”

Exactly none of this should come as a surprise. While several prominent health experts have praised the NBA’s extensive protocol for resuming its season in a bubble, there is no “true bubble.” There are thousands of employees that work at Disney, including hotel staff, that will currently not be subject to the same rules and regulations. There’s always going to be risk involved.

This will be a story to keep an eye on as it develops, especially since the league has set a June 24 deadline for players to decide if they will abstain from the bubble plan. That deadline may need to be extended in light of recent events … and may not even be necessary if the spiking number of cases starts to carry over into Orange County where Walt Disney Resort resides.

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